Local netters prepare for regional play

By Matt Hill
STAR STAFF
mhill@starhq.com

   David Reece wants to get to the Class A/AA State Tennis Tournament, and he has a lot of motivating factors to drive him.
   Reece will try to avenge a loss from last year and a loss from last week when the Region I-A/AA Tournament begins Monday morning at Elizabethton High School.
   Reece lost in the Region I-A/AA doubles semifinals last year with Weston Peters after the duo won the district together.
   The other loss in the back of his mind happened Tuesday when he fell 6-3, 6-0 to Johnson County's Adam Cornett in the District 1-AA Championship.
   But according to Reece, the slate has been wiped clean.
   "Everybody's two wins from Memphis," Reece said. "I'm in the same situation as everybody else."
   Reece feels like he didn't play very well against Cornett, and hopes that win or lose, he will play better tennis.
   "Even if I lose, I would like to play better and have a better outcome," Reece said. "I would just like to give myself a better opportunity to win."
   Reece is in a very similar situation to what a former Cyclone tennis standout was in a few years ago. In 1998 and 1999, Elizabethton's Brandon Pike lost to Dobyns-Bennett's David Poole in the District 1-AAA Tournament only to knock him off in the region tournament and advance to the state.
   With it being do or die, Reece hopes history repeats itself.
   "Looking at that, it's possible to rebound and play good and go to the state," Reece said.
   Cornett also has motivation despite being the top-seed out of District 1. Cornett is representing a proud community, and wants to give them something to talk about.
   A state tournament appearance would do just that.
   "It would mean a lot to the school," Cornett said. "People from our area aren't used to going to the state. Anything that happens, it's going to be the talk of the town."
   Like Reece, Cornett has been working hard to make sure the outcome goes his way.
   "I've been practicing every day with my instructor for the past three days and playing in matches," Cornett said. "I know what the level of players will be like, and I think I'm ready to take it on."
   The competition in the opening rounds will be tough for Reece and Cornett, but Cornett wants to see an All-local final.
   "I would really enjoy playing him again in the region," Cornett said.
   In girls action, the Lady Cyclones have two doubles teams still alive. In the District finals, Amanda Pike and Liz Dove defeated teammates Allison Parlier and Abby Bremer 6-2, 6-2.
   Pike and Dove are the more experienced team, having made it to the Spring Fling last year as a doubles squad. But Pike thinks it's neat that they have teammates joining them in the Regionals.
   "It's pretty cool to have your teammates with you," Pike said. "It's a lot more fun."
   Pike is pulling for her underdog teammates to sneak up and produce an upset to make it an All-Cyclone rematch.
   "I'm sure they'll do fine," Pike said. "We've just got to keep our game up and everything."
   As for her team, Pike is wanting to win this for her senior teammate.
   "This is Liz's last year and that's a big motivation," Pike said. "I'm really hoping to go to Memphis, and I'm going to work hard to get there."
   Play begins at 10 a.m.